To the Heart Through The Gut

Seth Godin makes an interesting point about the number of minds you have. The important notion is that people aren't entirely rational in the choices they make. We know this inherently. After all people make poor decisions all the time. Or people make frivolous decisions. All of these are based on some level of rationale which is informed by their gut. Or their animal needs or pleasures.

This got me thinking about the question of what makes a good logo that Zig was trying to get answered in the previous post (You really should be following my every word. Seriously). The answer, whatever it is, is what lies at the heart of what makes design both an important and valuable field, and also an awkward sell. When presented with a logo the client bases their like or dislike on two things, whether or not it resembles what was talked about at the beginning of the process, and the visceral reaction they have to it. This visceral reaction weighs heavily on the scales of like or dislike. As mentioned in the previous post (You haven't read it yet?) succeeding in the more cerebral rational aspects goes a long way towards getting them to take the aesthetic plunge. However in the vein of not being to make horses drink and whatnot, designers need to be wary of dismissing the gut of their clients.

In efforts to satisfy the business minds of some clients we often put on our "expert" hat and in turn start living in the dream world where every design decision serves some pragmatic, measurable goal that is logically unassailable. Then the client wakes you from the dream with a cold bucket of water when they say that they don't get the font, or the color or whatever idiosyncratic, tiny, completely banal thing that's rubbing them wrong. The slap puts us on the defensive. We try to back pedal and defend whatever it is. We complain to our fellow man that the client is killing you over such banal things.

If it's so banal, why do we fight for it? Give yourself this gut-check and you might find that there is something better on the horizon.